31 May 2008

I predatori acquatici di Massimo Demma

Massimo Demma, mitico illustratore naturalistico e membro onorario di Tethys (di cui ha anche ideato il logo) espone le sue opere nel Museo Didattico di Zoologia dell’Università degli Studi di Milano, in via Celoria 26.

La mostra, intitolata ‘Predatori Acquatici’, è stata realizzata nell'ambito di un progetto dell’Università degli Studi di Milano dal titolo ‘La Biodiversità in Italia: Conoscere per Conservare'. Lo scopo è quello di coinvolgere e sensibilizzare il grande pubblico sull’importanza di proteggere questo patrimonio.

Le tavole in esposizione non illustrano solo orche e squali, come ci si potrebbe aspettare a giudicare dal titolo della mostra, ma anche micidiali insetti d’acqua dolce come la notonetta, oppure anfibi carnivori della fauna europea. Molto riuscite ed evocative le illustrazioni della foca monaca nel suo ambiente naturale.

“Quello che mi interessa è coniugare la corretta rappresentazione con l'evidenza del contenuto estetico delle forme evolutive” commenta Demma - e l'obiettivo è certamente raggiunto.

Massimo ha illustrato in maniera esemplare i manuali su mammiferi marini, squali e razze del Mediterraneo scritti dal fondatore e Presidente Onorario di Tethys Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara e pubblicati da Franco Muzzio Editore.

Da anni Massimo collabora con il Museo di Storia Naturale di Milano come realizzatore di tavole scientifiche e tiene corsi di disegno naturalistico per gli studenti di Biologia. Insomma : un esperto e un evento da non perdere!

La mostra è aperta fino al 20 giugno e si può visitare dal lunedì al giovedì.

Francesca Zardin

Per maggiori informazioni:
Museo Didattico di Zoologia

29 May 2008

Tethys Photo Show

After two decades and thousands of photos portraying dolphins and whales under all sort of lights, behaviours, situations and landscapes, it was time for Tethys to make sense of the art and beauty behind this work, and not only of the underlying science.

So here comes the Tethys Photo Show.

It is a selection of some of the best photos taken during Mediterranean research campaigns spent studying cetaceans in the Ligurian, Adriatic and Ionian Seas.

The selection includes about 60 photos covering the eight cetacean species regularly found in Mediterranean waters - from the poorly-known Cuvier's beaked whales to the energetic striped dolphins. These images show the spectacular aerial displays of common bottlenose dolphins and short-beaked common dolphins, but also the rare jump of a fin whale, the eye of a Risso’s dolphin about to be scrubbed by a researcher to get a tiny piece of skin for genetic analyses, pilot whales literally surrounding the research boat, sperm whales in the sunset... and more.

A dedicated soundtrack makes the show (about 4 min long) even more pleasant to watch.

This work is meant to be turned into an actual photo exhibition, as soon as funding can be ensured to cover printing and other costs. Until that time comes, let's watch these beautiful photos online!

Silvia Bonizzoni

27 May 2008

Cetacean strandings in the District of Brindisi

Paola Pino D’Astore, an independent biologist, in collaboration with Tethys researchers Giovanni Bearzi and Silvia Bonizzoni, have recently made available an important dataset of cetacean strandings along the District of Brindisi, in the southern Adriatic Sea on the eastern coast of Apulia (Italy).

While Paola conducted the whole field investigation and data collection, Silvia and Giovanni revised and analyzed stranding data and photographic documentation.

Between January 2002 and May 2008, a total of 46 cetacean strandings events were recorded. Strandings were always of single individuals, and included 2 Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris), 16 common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), 9 striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), 4 small Delphinidae (most likely S. coeruleoalba), 11 unidentified small Delphinidae, and 4 unknown cetacean species. Detailed analyses are underway.

This and other information has been posted online on a dedicated section of the Tethys web site.


For more information:
Apulia Dolphin Project (see Cetacean strandings section)

25 May 2008

Dolphin event in Vonitsa, Greece

On May 20th, 2008, about 300 children of Vonitsa’s Primary School attended the presentation "Our Friends the Dolphins" inspired by the booklet by Tethys’ president Giovanni Bearzi.

This event was carried out in the context of public awareness and education activities developed by Tethys’ Ionian Dolphin Project, with support from WDCS, OceanCare, the RAC/SPA and the Earthwatch Institute.

The presentation was led by staff member Sofia Vekerithou, a teacher from Vonitsa, Greece, who started collaborating with Tethys in 2007 and is now contributing substantially to education programmes. Sofia was helped by her teen-age students at the Vonitsa Secondary School.

In April Sofia and her students visited the Tethys field station in Vonitsa and dolphin researcher Joan Gonzalvo introduced them to the work done by Tethys since 1991 on dolphins in the Ionian Sea. This visit motivated the older students to share what they learned with younger kids.

Sofia and Joan helped the students to do independent research on the conservation of the Amvrakikos Gulf, with emphasis on dolphins living there. The students were then provided with information and visual materials to organize a dolphin conservation event, presenting their own work to the young audience.

An important role was played by the booklet “All About Dolphins” produced by WDCS, CMS and TUI. One hundred copies of this multilingual educational manual were given to local school teachers and used as preparatory material for their students prior to the dolphin event.

Seeing the young audience lighting up with curiosity and interest by the message delivered by Sofia and her students was a great satisfaction for the Tethys team, that strives to raise awareness on the need to protect marine biodiversity. The success of this event is a reason to believe that marine conservation in Greece is still within reach!

Joan Gonzalvo, Sofia Vekerithou and Giovanni Bearzi

Photos of the dolphin event

22 May 2008

"Cindy" is back

This morning, May 21st, 2008, I had the pleasant surprise of finding an old friend.

Cindy has been paying a visit to the Vonitsa seaside over the past couple of years, at least according to my own experience (I live in this Greek city on the shore of the Amvrakikos Gulf since March 2006, doing year-round research on local bottlenose dolphins).

Usually, Cindy arrives sometime around spring and disappears in early autumn. She is a gorgeous loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta who moves gracefully feeding on mussels and on fish discarded by local fishermen moored along the Vonitsa seafront.

Although it may be premature to assume that this sea turtle is always the same individual, local fishermen claim so because of its size and the way it behaves.

While we compare the several hundreds of photos of “Cindy” taken during the past few years to deny or confirm that claim, I savor the idea that she has always been good-old Cindy and I fantasize about the different places that she might have visited while she was away.

Joan Gonzalvo

21 May 2008

Saving whales with special buoys

Researchers from the Cornell University have engineered a high-tech system of submerged listening posts stretching across 88 Km of Massachusetts Bay that can detect the whale sounds and manage vessel traffic to avoid collision between ships and cetaceans.

The method is simple: special buoys are used in areas where cetaceans density is higher. Each buoy has a highly-tech audio system, able to detect and record whales sounds. When whale sounds are detected, cell phone and satellite technologies relay the information from buoys to shore in nearly real-time. The central system is also able to elaborate the audio information and transmit the whale position to ship captains, who can slow down to 10 knots and lookout to avoid a collision.

The network is designed to protect the North Atlantic right whales from deadly collisions in the busy shipping lanes in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, but in the future could be used in other areas.

Whales collisions have also been recorded in Mediterranean Sea. Research by Tethys shows that the Pelagos Sanctuary, Gulf of Lions and adjacent waters are high-risk areas for whale collisions.

Silvia Bonizzoni

For more information:

Panigada S., Pesante G., Zanardelli M., Capoulade F., Gannier A., Weinrich M.T. 2006. Mediterranean fin whales at risk from fatal ship strikes. Marine Pollution Bulletin 52:1287-1298.

20 May 2008

MSc in Applied Marine Ecology and Fisheries

A new MSc course in "Applied Marine Ecology and Fisheries" is now available at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

This one-year programme is meant to equip students with the knowledge and tools needed to meet the challenges of the ecosystem-based management paradigm and find new solutions to manage our marine natural resources.


For more information:

19 May 2008

Preliminary investigation in Porto Cesareo

Tethys has recently conducted a preliminary investigation on cetaceans and coastal fisheries in and around the Marine Protected Area of Porto Cesareo (south-east Italy).

A total of 54 formal interviews to professional coastal fishermen were conducted in fishing ports situated along 65 km of coastline, on both sides of the Porto Cesareo MPA. 93% of the interviewed fishermen reported fishing gear damage and depredation caused by common bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus.

Researchers also did research at sea, making a series of visual surveys within the MPA. They sighted three loggerhead sea turtles Caretta caretta and one swordfish Xiphias gladius, but no cetaceans. Lack of dolphin sightings during this preliminary study suggests that net depredation may be due to occasional incursions of transient bottlenose dolphins, rather than to animals residing in the area year-round.

We plan to continue our work in October when, according to local fishermen, dolphin density may be higher. Our aim is to better understand the real damage caused by dolphins to fishing gear and understand the relationship between damage reported by local fishermen and actual dolphin density.

Silvia Bonizzoni

18 May 2008

Seventh European Seminar on Marine Mammals

The Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo is organizing a scientific course called “Seventh European Seminar on Marine Mammals: Biology and Conservation”.

The course is meant for university or post-graduated students, and it will take place in Valencia (Spain) between 15 and 19 September 2008. The programme is rich: from life history, ecology and behaviour, through pathology and anthropologic impact, to habitat modelling, conservation and management.

Lectures are given by experts such as Alex Aguilar, Arne Bjørge, Ana Cañadas, Dan Costa, Mariano Domingo, Gregory Donovan, Peter Evans, Philip Hammond, Christina Lockyer and Juan Antonio Raga. A Tethys expert will be also there: Simone Panigada will give a lecture on “Tracking techniques to study marine mammals”.

If you are interested, consider that 1) registration is limited to a maximum of 100 participants, 2) registration deadline is 8th September 2008, and 3) registration fees are 125 Euros.


For more information:

15 May 2008

Traffico navale e cetacei

Il 14 maggio, presso il Palazzo San Giorgio a Genova, si è tenuto il convegno "Traffici marittimi e Santuario dei Mammiferi Marini: politiche, pratiche ed esperienze per una convivenza possibile".

L’evento, organizzato da Lega Ambiente Liguria, ha visto la partecipazione di numerosi esperti, che hanno affrontato diverse tematiche come ad esempio: il traffico marittimo, l’impatto del rumore sui cetacei, le interazioni tra cetacei e navi, le tecnologie per ridurre le collisioni e quelle per limitare le emissioni acustiche dei mezzi marini.

L’Istituto Tethys, noto anche per i suoi studi relativi alle collisioni tra balenottere e navi nel Santuario dei Cetacei, è stato invitato a partecipare. Simone Panigada, vicepresidente di Tethys, ha tenuto una presentazione su “La necessità di definire habitat critici per le specie di cetacei nel Santuario Pelagos”.

Silvia Bonizzoni

Per approfondimenti:

Panigada S., Pesante G., Zanardelli M., Capoulade F., Gannier A., Weinrich M.T. 2006. Mediterranean fin whales at risk from fatal ship strikes. Marine Pollution Bulletin 52:1287-1298.


06 May 2008

05 May 2008

Tetidi al matrimonio di Stefano e Marina

Foto di gruppo di alcuni dei tetidi intervenuti al matrimonio di Stefano e Marina.

Da sinistra a destra Carlo Della Libera, Joan Gonzalvo, Silvia Bonizzoni, Giovanni Bearzi, Marina Ferrarotti, Stefano Agazzi, Elena Politi, Margherita Zanardelli e Simone Panigada.

(Clicca sulla foto per ingrandirla)

04 May 2008

Stefano e Marina sposi

Stefano Agazzi e la sua Marina si sono sposati!

Il tutto iniziò nell’agosto del 2003 quando Marina decise di partecipare come volontaria a uno dei campi di ricerca Tethys. Complici i delfini, il mare, la bellezza dell’isola di Kalamos o, più probabilmente, il fascino irresistibile dello Stefano ricercatore... Insomma: Cupido decise di scoccare la famosa freccia.

E così ieri, 3 maggio 2008, Stefano e Marina hanno pronunciato il fatidico “sì”, seguito da lanci di riso, coriandoli e petali di rosa, con tanti sorrisi e felicità.

La Tethys si congratula con i novelli sposini e manda loro un mare di auguri cetologici.


Per vedere qualche foto:

02 May 2008

Delfini del Mar Ionio

Il 1° maggio, Giovanni Bearzi (presidente di Tethys) ha tenuto una presentazione presso la Lega Navale di Porto Cesareo (Lecce) dal titolo "Delfini del Mar Ionio: Ricerca e Conservazione".

Bearzi è stato invitato a parlare delle ricerche e degli studi condotti da Tethys e a illustrare il nuovo progetto di monitoraggio dei cetacei che si sta svolgendo, proprio in questi giorni, all’interno dell’Area Marina Protetta di Porto Cesareo.

L’evento è stato organizzato nell’ambito di una collaborazione con la sede locale della rinomata associazione nautica, che ospita una delle imbarcazioni di ricerca di Tethys, e con il Consorzio di Gestione dell’Area Marina Protetta di Porto Cesareo, che ha concesso i permessi di ricerca all’interno dell’area.

L’evento ha riscosso un notevole successo e la serata è stata occasione di numerosi scambi di informazioni “cetologiche” con il pubblico presente.

Alla serata hanno partecipato anche Joan Gonzalvo e Silvia Bonizzoni che, oltre alle uscite in mare, stanno svolgendo interviste ai pescatori locali per comprendere e quantificare i danni causati dai delfini alle reti da pesca.

Silvia Bonizzoni